Picture the scene: It’s the late 1950s in Montreal, a snowstorm is raging outside, and you are a maid at a fancy hotel. You are not only a maid but the world’s snoopiest maid. You are the Nancy Drew of maids, going through every little piece of the guests’ luggage and trash. You are skulking around, listening at locked doors to every single conversation that could be happening. It’s time to play the nosey maid simulator known as This Bed We Made from Lowbirth Games.
In this branching narrative mystery game, you play as Sophie, the aforementioned vaguely sociopathic maid. The game begins in black and white, with Sophie heading to an interrogation room at the police station. Something happened during her day at work. She recounts everything she knows to a detective. What exactly happened? That’s for you to find out as the day unfolds.
As her day starts, Sophie is already cleaning a guest’s room. This is an opportunity to learn about interacting with and investigating objects and scouring rooms for clues. In this tutorial, Sophie snoops through everything, reading their mail and occasionally cleaning things. She learns that the guest in this room owes quite a lot of money to debt collectors and has been evading them. None of that is your business Sophie, why are you like this?
This Bed We Made Features An Engaging Story
After this brief tutorial, Sophie is in the staff break room and is once again listening to everybody else’s business. While she reads a tabloid gossip magazine, two other maids talk pretty openly about how weird and nosey she is. First of all, they are about two feet away from here this is rude. Second of all, Sophie also sits there and listens in on two dating co-workers who are arguing. Sophie, you are the worst.
After crossing the boundaries of everyone in the break room, it’s time to go see Beth at the front desk and start the story proper. A guest has knocked over a massive vase in the lobby, and Beth isn’t allowed to come out from behind the desk (a likely story). It’s up to you to get a mop and clean it up. Before you toddle off to find the mop, though, it’s time to have your first conversation that will affect the game.
When you talk to most characters, you will get several different options. Will you be a salacious gossip? Hold your tongue, or make small talk? I decided to go with what I thought Sophie would actually do and tell Beth all about the bickering co-workers. Dialogue options will also have symbols next to them that will show you if they are conversation enders or lead to more information. A red door indicates the conversation will be over, and an arrow shows it opens up further dialog options. There may be more than one line of conversation, so as with all branching narrative games, choose wisely. This is also a great time to point out the excellent performances of the voice actors in the game.
On your way to get the mop, the hotel manager is having a conversation in his office with the staff matron, so, of course, you must listen to it. Your sneaky eavesdropping is rudely interrupted by concierge Andrew who busts you but in a lighthearted, “hahaha caught you” kind of way. The conversations you have with people will change what information you learn, and they will also ultimately influence your relationship with that person. Will you make a friend of Andrew, or will he judge you for being Snoopy Sophie?
Cleaning up the mess in the lobby will lead you to the beginning of the mystery – a guest who has created a makeshift darkroom in his bathroom where only pictures of Sophie are hanging to dry. Then it’s time to make the first big choice of the game. Who will you call to help you with this creepy revelation? Will it be Bookworm Andrew or Reception Mommy Beth?
After I called Beth to explain what I had found, it cemented her as my partner in deception for the rest of the game. The game refers to your chosen confidant as an “Acolyte,” and I hate it. It’s a bizarre way to refer to your partner in crime. Acolyte suggests a religious follower, and it just doesn’t fit with the language or feel of the game. The technical definition is an assistant or follower, most commonly to the clergy, although not always. It seems like a strange choice of words for your friend, considering the tone of the game and Sophie’s character. I am aware that this is an incredibly banal thing to be hung up on, but every time I got an achievement that said I did or didn’t do something with my “acolyte,” it grated on me.
Sadly, You’re Never Really In Danger During This Bed We Made
From this point on, it’s all about searching for clues, solving puzzles, and code-breaking to find out why the guest in 505 appears to be stalking you. Is he just an obsessed stalker? An over-enthusiastic photographer? Or are you wrong in your suspicions? What else could this over-priced and stuffy hotel be hiding? If you are Sophie, it hides nothing because you don’t care about anyone else’s boundaries at all, and nothing will stop you from rifling through anything open, whether it’s guests’ belongings or your colleagues’ lockers. There is no real danger here. I only encountered the chance of being caught snooping once during my playthrough. It felt like it was queued up for more opportunities to be busted, but no. You are free to stick your head into everyone’s business without repercussions in the moment.
To be fair to Sophie, it is a very engrossing mystery. It’s well-written and compelling, with some interesting characters at its heart. Some well-placed clues are contextual to the time, if a little heavy-handed. For example, there are many mentions of the “deviance” of gay people and how they were treated at the time. There is still more to be discovered after my playthrough. For instance, I did not get the best ending. It went badly. As in real life, I was felled by social skills and also forgot that I was a maid and had actual job responsibilities. There is also the fact that I can play again with Andrew as my partner in subterfuge. Will that make a significant difference to the gameplay experience, or is it merely a slightly different end to the same means? I plan on finding out soon.
This Bed We Made is out now on Steam and PS5 and comes to PS4 and Xbox Series X/S on December 13.